Kenji Nakayama: 2/15/20


Long story: We were out for a walk without phone, pencil, or paper. A Black Lives Matter sign caught our eye. Nice lettering. We crossed the street for a closer look. What a beauty. In the lower corner was the maker’s mark: Need Signs? Will Paint. We needed to know more, but without any way to make a note, we had to repeat “Need signs? Will paint.” over and over and over again until we got home. And then we were able to dive into the work of Kenji Nakayama. Born in Japan, he came all the way to Boston to study sign painting at a now defunct art school in Back Bay (which is a swanky part of town). He’s since made an extensive study of the Roman letterform and has a thriving business as a sign painter.

This is one of Kenji’s BIG practice sheets, hand-painted as he prepared to get to work on February 15, 2020. Each letter is a lovely example of the sign-writer’s art even if it doesn’t say anything in particular. Loaded with the names of notable letter-makers, this one’s gonna make us lonesome when it goes. It’s pure delight.

This very large sheet lives folded in half and in half again and in half again—so that’s how we’re gonna ship it to you: Folded.

  • Size: 33.25 × 47.5 inches
  • Pages: 1 sheet
  • Medium: Sign paint on paper
  • Binding: NA